What Does History Tell Us About Slavery and Racism?
Which political party really supported slavery and continue to further the cause of racism? Most people will immediately point their finger at Republicans and Conservatives. You know those evil old white folks who would rather see you encased in chains than an actual contributing citizen of the United States? Well if you believe this, then I have some swamp land in Florida I need to sell. If you look at history, it will definitely prove you wrong.
Founded in 1866, the Ku Klux Klan was committed to the violent intimidation of blacks, Republicans and northerners. It was a group that was established by Democrats to fight against the political and economic freedoms for blacks. The first leader of the KKK was Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Democrat, who made his fortune as a cotton planter and a slave trader. He later fought in the civil war to protect his right to own slaves and was well-known for the Fort Pillow Massacre in 1864. Forrest marched 1500-2500 troops to take over Ft. Pillow which was being guarded by about 600 Union soldiers, half of them black. When his confederate soldiers took the fort, the Union soldiers surrendered and instead of taking them as prisoners, Forrest massacred all 300 black soldiers. After the war ended, Forrest resisted the Reconstruction and became the first Grand Wizard of the KKK.
President Lincoln’s Republican victory for President, led to the addition of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution which called for the “utter and complete destruction” of slavery, and granted blacks freedom, citizenship and the right to vote. The Democratic party called for the restoration of State’s rights which would have given each state the right to enforce slavery if they saw fit. As a result, Democrats started the KKK in a resistance measure against Reconstruction.
Why was the NAACP founded? In 1905, a group of thirty-two prominent African-American leaders met to discuss the challenges facing people of color and possible strategies and solutions. Through the early 1900s, legislatures dominated by white Democrats ratified new constitutions and laws creating barriers to voter registration and more complex election rules. Black voter registration and turnout dropped markedly in the South as a result. Men who had been voting for thirty years in the South were told they did not “qualify” to register. As a result the Niagara Movement began and years later, 7 of the members joined the board of the NAACP. The NAACP spent a decade seeking federal legislation against lynching. However, Southern Democrats voted as a block against it or used the filibuster in the Senate to block its passage. Southern states, at the time, were dominated by Democrats. They created “white only” primaries to block blacks from the political process.
Franklin Roosevelt was the Democratic President of the U.S from 1933 to 1945. While in office, Roosevelt refused to support the Costigan-Wagner Anti-Lynching Bill that would have punished sheriffs who failed to protect their prisoners from lynch mobs. Even after the lynching of Rubin Stacy in 1935, which drew National attention, Roosevelt refused to budge. Why? He was afraid of the political ramifications to his career.
In 1958, it was the Republican party and President Dwight Eisenhower who sent troops to Arkansas to desegregate schools. He also established the Civil Rights Commission and appointed Chief Justice Earl Warren to the Supreme Court which resulted in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision ending school segregation.
In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was finally passed under Lyndon Johnson, with a Republican majority. LBJ asked Republican Senator Dirksen, the Senate minority leader to assist him in passing the bill, and as a result Dirksen played a pivotal role in the passage of the Act. Prior to his assassination, President Kennedy called the congressional leaders to the White House in 1963 to line up votes for the bill’s passage. A Democrat and avid segregationist from Virginia, Howard W. Smith, indicated his intention to keep the bill bottled up indefinitely. When taking office for Kennedy, President Johnson asked for support from his friend and mentor Senator Richard Russell, who refused. A Democrat from Georgia, and the leader of the Southern Democrats in the Senate, Russell and his followers continued to oppose the civil rights bill to the very end. The final vote was 72-18. Republicans had the majority of the “yeas” and all the ‘nays, came from Democrats. If it had fallen on the shoulders of Democrats alone to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it never would have passed.
Even Congressman Jessie Jackson Jr, former Democratic Congressman and African-American, explained in an interview with Angela McGlowan on her book “Bamboozled,” that the Democrats were the party of segregation and said, “There is no doubt that the Democratic Party is the party of the Confederacy, historically, that the Democratic Party’s flag is the Confederate flag. It was our party’s flag. That Jefferson Davis was a Democrat, that Stonewall Jackson strongly identified with the Democratic Party, that secessionists in the South saw themselves as Democrats and were Democrats. That so much of the Democratic Party’s history, since it is our nation’s oldest political party, has its roots in slavery.”
Now, lets talk about the Jim Crow laws. In 1885 a southern black journalist, T. McCants Stewart said, “I can stop in and drink a glass of soda and be more politely waited upon than in some parts of New England.”
The Republicans had passed amendments to the Constitution that had given blacks the vote, citizenship and equal protection under the law. However a national Democratic party compromise to gain Southern support for the presidential election resulted in the government withdrawing federal troops from the South returning it to white rule. As the Republican party had fallen from national power, blacks would lose all the rights they had gained and their rights and freedoms would be made illegal through Jim Crow laws, passed by Southern, white Democrats.
Based on so much history in supporting slavery and Jim Crow laws, why do Democrats continue to win 95% of the black vote? Stephen A. Smith recommends, “For one election, just one, every black person in America vote Republican.”
Why not? The majority of blacks have been voting for Democrats and have seen no improvements in their lives. The statistics speak for themselves. President Obama’s approval ratings remains high within the black community, however, his policies have hurt them dramatically. The U.S labor force participation rate for blacks is currently at 61% and for black teenagers, it is 25.7%. The unemployment rate for black adults is over 10% and for teenagers is at 25%. The percentage of blacks below the poverty rate has also increased under Obama at 27.2%, and household incomes have fallen to $34,598. Home ownership has fallen and food stamp recipients have risen from 7.4 million to 12.2 million between 2008 and 2013 under Obama.
A black activist, Alfonzo Rachel explains in his recent video, where he speaks to the black community, why the Democrats are the party of slavery and victimization, “You do realize that slavery was abolished like 150 years ago? Yet your mind is still in the fields, a place where you have never been. Yet you want to stay brain chained to a place where Democrats wanted to keep you and still want to keep you. You think the Democrats have changed and that Republicans are not the party of Lincoln anymore. Democrats haven’t changed. They still want you to be dependent on the master and there still dependent on you, but now instead of using blacks to farm cotton they now use you to farm votes. And you have been suckered into believing that this off-balance circle of dependency is Democrats doing something for black folks. If Democrats do so much for you, why are you still so angry? Why are you still saying we shall overcome as if it hasn’t already happened. I will tell you why overcoming hasn’t happened for you, because you have been suckered into voting for the party that you were supposed to overcome.”
I think Stephen A. Smith’s recommendation makes sense. If blacks lives have not improved under Democratic rule, then why not make a change? Why not take a chance and try a vote for a Republican. You might be surprised.